Here in the U.S. we are very well fed people who live in bloated houses, drive immense gas-hog vehicles (usually two or three), worry over our investments, pine for that latest this and that and ache when "the good life" is just out of our reach. We have lots of spare time and complain when the cable goes down or the toaster doesn't work quite right. Meanwhile the rest of the world would be happy with just a little more food, some warmer clothes, a real house and perhaps a blanket to stay warm at night.
A fairly new website called KIVA specializes in micro-loans to individuals in poorer countries and helps them start or build a micro business so they can afford what we in the U.S. take for granted. These micro businesses usually revolve around food, clothing, shelter, firewood, recycling, and such and are formed by people that do not live in a buy it-trash it society like the U.S. They treasure every little thing life brings them and are happy with it. Despite their poverty a smile still comes quick as they ask only for a tiny bit of help so they can lead a decent life.
A twenty-five dollar loan to a micro business may sound like a small amount but in another country it is the same as a thousand to you and I. It can mean the difference between eating or not or having clothes or a blanket. On KIVA an individual, along with thousands of other like-minded individuals, makes small twenty-five dollar, or larger, loans to help start or build a micro-business. Unlike a charity this is money you lend and is not permanently given away. Eventually, in a year or two, you will see all of your money back. You can withdraw it of course but the best course of action is to put it right back into another business. There is no interest paid but the reward of seeing a positive result from your money is much greater than a dollar could ever provide.
If you want to lean more about KIVA simply follow this link to a PBS documentary. It is about twenty minutes long.